SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Dakota Alliance U14 girls soccer team has a lot to celebrate after winning the U.S. Youth Soccer National President’s Cup.
When they returned home yesterday morning, they were greeted by applause from friends and family.
Stepping off the bus and gripping their victory tight, the Dakota Alliance U14 Girls Soccer team had a hard time gripping their own reality.
“It’s pretty awesome. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet though,” Goalie Cambell Fische said.
“It’s just so… it’s just so unreal,” Chloe Dondlinger said.
After almost winning last year, this year they finally became the first Dakota Alliance team to be named national champions.
“It’s awesome to be able to see them to be able to repeat what they did last year and take it a step further,” Coach James Oppenheimer said.
“Waking up at 5 am to go in to work out, getting used to early mornings – we had a lot of early morning games and stuff – constant hard work,” Dondlinger said.
A crazy experience for them in many respects.
“You’re in Tennessee, like some foreign place that you’ve never seen before and never experienced before and we’re all just South Dakota girls in awe,” Dondlinger said.
“It was really hot, but we got through it and, I mean, we won, so,” Fische said.
But they beat the heat both on and off the field.
“They’ve seen what it takes to be the best and what it takes to compete against the best and to be consistent and what it takes to stay together as a team. They’re closer than any other team I’ve ever coached with,” Oppenheimer said.
“It just kind of shows that hard work does pay off and to keep work and it will… it will all work out in the end,” Fische said.
And they’re already making more goals… for next year.
“It’s going to see where we come from here, where we go from here, what we do next, it’s kind of like building up to the climax,” Dondlinger said.
“We’ll try and compete in the national championship series next year, which is a step up from the presidents cup and see how we do as a team in that,” Oppenheimer said.
“Because we’ve all worked together, we’ve all kind of grown together. This is… a team accomplishment and… this is ours,” Fische said.